December 2007 at Leighton Buzzard Theatre
Fantastic production with Tevye the milkman, his wife Golde and the family who push against the traditions of his faith and time.
Review by Sandra Dudley:
TAKE 50 local young thesps, an inspired director, a team of committed volunteers/professionals and a tale of harsh Jewish Russian village life under Tsarist rule in 1905.
Add a God-fearing dairyman, Tevye, his wife, Golde, and their five daughters of marriageable age, a village community; those in authority and those, like him, poor and struggling and you have the iconic musical Fiddler on the Roof performed in this instance, by the Leighton Buzzard Children's Theatre.
In a moving Prologue, Tevye powerfully explains his belief in God's law which, together with their deep seated local traditions, makes their lives 'as shaky as a fiddler on the roof'.
They are such challenging roles for teenagers—the Jewish/Russian accent—and playing characters well beyond their own age and experiences but succeed they did. Effective scenery changes and an extended stage made a 3D framework and with sensitive use of all the auditorium, it was not difficult to feel part of the village.
The setting was superb, the actors well disciplined—almost all utterly motionless in the frequent very effective 'freeze' crowd scenes—'pictures' in stage terminology.The fiddler—lone, slight and with intriguingly haunting expressions—dancedinto all scenes.
Sometimes inebriated,Tvye manufactures a nightmare experience—a scene of magnificent evil and induced fear. Costumes, choreography and scenery were completely authentic; a show full of some of the most emotive songs ever—If I was Rich Man, Matchmaker, Sunrise Sunset: this teenage cast accompanied by a 'full orchestra' track courtesy Sound/Keyboards guru, David Allsopp, enabled much mature vocal presentation.
The Saturday matinee role of Tevye was played by Hari Apostolides—well cast physically and vocally with a commanding presence. Scarlet Forrest as Golde retained a dignified calm as the plot unfolded—a little too calm as she saw one daughter off to the USA! Key roles were played ably by Joanne Ellam, Dawn Mayne, Sarah Lightfoot and Serena Tartaglia, Cara O'Neill and Jenny Bernarde.